When I first began delving into the realm of the New Atheist movement I was, so I supposed, confronting the utmost erudition that the movement had to offer. What I found is that the movement is virtually tailor made to appeal to the basest urges within us. Here I am not only referring to the fact that atheism is a consoling delusion but also to the urge to have a laugh at something silly and elbow our buddy in the ribs about it.
The movement produces scientists, supposed skeptics and even ex-preachers who make various authoritarian assertions. Which of their admirers is skeptical enough to be skeptical of them? I do not know, but I wonder. They appear to constantly make silly remarks about caricatures of "religion" utilizing the same tact as a standup comedian who, as many do, focus almost exclusively on foul language and sex. Why do many comedians do this? Because it is easy, especially if your audience has consumed a number of adult beverages.
Professor PZ Myers has, sadly as so many others have, become a propagandist who seeks to smuggle atheism into science classrooms through the back door and under the guise of science (see here for two examples of this tact and here for Prof. PZ Myers' further elucidation of this point).
Prof. PZ Myers' website "Pharyngula" is part of the "Scienceblogs" network. While the premise of Scienceblogs is to give professors access to the masses and the masses access to the professors with regards to science it has morphed into something quite different, as Scienceblogger Matthew C. Nisbet stated it in referring to:
"…the major perceptual hit that the scienceblogs.com community and brand continues to take because of PZ's antics. The Seed sponsored blog portal is supposed to be a place that attracts new audiences to science, but in fact, it has turned into the Web's leading echo chamber of anti-religious rants and sophomoric discussions of atheism, what the physicist Chad Orzel refers to as the 'screechy monkey' problem. In a recent interview on the podcast Point of Inquiry, host DJ Grothe asked PZ if he worried that scienceblogs.com was becoming better known as 'atheistblogs.com.' It's a question that merits serious consideration, especially in light of recent events."
"If I'm offended, as a liberal apathetic-agnostic professional scientist, how do you think this comes off to people who are actually religious? People who aren't already predisposed to support science? People who are a bit to the right of center politically?" [bold in original]
Prof. PZ Myers' personal immaturity is further compounded, and encouraged, by his Pavlov's monkeys. Just as Prof. Richard Dawkins has apparently given up his position as professor of the public understanding of science to take on the role of professor of the public understanding of atheism, many appear to be doing likewise. One can only wonder for just how many decades these atheist activists have abused and misused their position of privilege and authority to shove atheism down their student's throats in the guise of science.
ScienceBlogs, for its part, expresses their purposes thusly:
"a digital science salon featuring the leading bloggers from a wide array of scientific disciplines. Today, ScienceBlogs is the largest online community dedicated to science. We believe in providing our bloggers with the freedom to exercise their own editorial and creative instincts. We do not edit their work and we do not tell them what to write about…Our role, as we see it, is to create and continue to improve this forum for discussion, and to ensure that the rich dialogue that takes place at ScienceBlogs resonates outside the blogosphere…We believe that science literacy is a pre-condition for progress in the 21st century. At a time when public interest in science is high but public understanding of science remains weak, we have set out to create innovative media ventures to improve science literacy and to advance global science culture."
Perhaps their mistake was in not insisting on scientific content but basically providing a forum for their bloggers to express their personal prejudices.
Lastly, to be fair to the circa 75 bloggers on Scienceblogs.com I wished to state that I am not painting with a broom and referring to the lot of them as being pseudoscientific. Neither, for that matter, am I claiming that PZ Myers is pseudoscientific when he restricts himself to a discussion of organisms and what he can actually observe about them. The problem that atheist activists are causing, even for people who agree with their scientific and worldview concepts, is that they is turning off the very people who would seem to need exposure to science the most and not providing science education per se but worldview activism instead.
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